Serial dating — moving from one relationship to the next without taking time to be single — raises questions about dating habits for young adults.
Ironically, the budding couple shares more in common than their space in the limelight. The Inquisitr has labeled both Swift and Styles as serial daters. This title, which is often used to describe people who move from one relationship to the next without taking time to be single, raises questions about normal dating habits for young adults.
Huffington Post blogger Julia Plevin expressed concern about college students who enter committed relationships before getting to know one another. She labeled this trend as “serial monogamy,” or a culture of jumping from meeting someone into dating exclusively. Instead, Plevin recommends being appreciative of the time that you spend single.
“At 21, I am still trying to figure out who I am and what kind of person I want to be with,” Plevin wrote. “In order to do this, I need to try out many different types of people and make mental pros and cons, and lists of characteristics until I find someone that is just my type and sweeps me off my feet. In other words, I, as well as other young people, should be dating lots of different people at once.”
Time reported that while sex occurs more commonly between committed couples than casual hookups on college campuses, not everyone is engaged in a culture of “serial monogamy.” Through a survey of almost 500 female college freshmen at the end of their first year, a recent study found that 68% of students surveyed had some form of sex while in a relationship, compared to 51% who did so with a non-significant-other.
For many college students, partaking in an informal hookup serves as a simple way to avoid the potential discomfort of dating.
According to North Carolina State University’s Abstract, a 2011 study found that women often have an expectation of judgment when it comes to dating, making the casualness of an isolated hookup more appealing than going on a date.
When presented with two scenarios in which a male and a female meet at a party, consensually hook up and go on a date a week later that ends in a kiss, the majority of students regarded the initial hookup as mutually desired and beneficial to both parties.
Gender took on a role, however, as researchers presented the date as initiated by the male in the first scenario, and then by the female in the second scenario. When viewing the date as instigated by the male, about half of the participants suggested that the female limited their physical contact in order to appear as “good dating material.”
On the other hand, when the female was said to have suggested the date, approximately half of the students called the date a “pity date” that the male attended out of obligation. These impressions highlight the pressure for women to feel a sense of approval on dates, a bias that participants were less prone toward when considering two students engaging in a casual hookup.
Kerry Cronin, a fellow at Boston College’s Center for Student Formation, believes that experiencing the ups and downs of dating is crucial to students’ development in college. Cronin values the experience of dating so much, in fact, that she assigns her students to ask someone out on a date — and failure to do so results in a failing grade for the class.
“The ebb and flow into the hookup scene is largely motivated by a desire for a connection, but it is a desire that is hampered by a lack of courage,” Cronin said in an interview with The Christian Century. “The difficult thing is having the simple courage to ask somebody if he or she would want to sit down for an hour and talk.”
To avoid the pitfalls of serial monogamy, Cronin recommends listening to your gut when a person is not right for you. If the date does not go well, let your feelings be known before you find yourself stuck in an unhappy relationship.
“If you are not interested in pursuing a relationship with someone, you need to find ways of letting it be known that you are not rejecting that individual as a person but just making an honest assessment of your feelings,” she said.